Health Babes Podcast #006: Body Image with WWE Ref, Jessika Carr

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Intro  00:03

Welcome to the Health Babes podcast with doctors Becky Campbell and Krystal Hohn, where we talk everything health.

Dr. Becky Campbell  00:10

What did you do at the gym?

Jessika Carr  00:15

Today was leg day.

Dr. Becky Campbell  00:17

What does that look like for you?

Dr. Krystal Hohn  00:17

Yes, I want to hear this.

Jessika Carr  00:20

Yes, today. Well, I don’t know if you knew, but I do work with Cody.

Dr. Becky Campbell  00:24

Oh, you do? I love Cody! Cody’s great.

Jessika Carr  00:29

It was around the time that we started working together. And he has completely changed. We can talk about that for probably three hours.

Dr. Becky Campbell  00:38

He’s great.

Jessika Carr  00:39

But having that consistency and that progressive overload of going to the gym… For the past 10 years, I have always gone to the gym and done workouts. But having that, “Okay, we’re going to be consistently doing this program over the course of this many weeks, and then we’re going to change it completely,” drastically changed my whole body.

Jessika Carr  01:00

I’ve had a back issue for probably a month or two, so we’ve definitely had to adjust what we were doing in that time. Yes, because it’s just been a nagging thing that kept coming up and just not going away. So I was like, “Fine, I’ll go to therapy for it!” But [I’m doing] a lot of single-leg movements right now, [like] reverse lunges. He has this fun, very fun… I like putting myself through pain. He has a cluster set for a few things. So what you’ll do is three reps and wait 15 seconds; do four reps and wait 15 seconds; do five reps, six reps, seven reps, with about 70% of your one rep max for different movements. So, those are rough skis this morning.

Dr. Becky Campbell  01:49

He’s good. He’s got it down.

Jessika Carr  01:51

I love him so much.

Dr. Becky Campbell  01:52

Yes, he’s awesome. All right, well, let’s get to it. All right, guys, so welcome to the Health Babes podcast. We have Jessika Carr. Jessika is awesome. I met Jessika as a patient, actually. She was one of our patients.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  02:06

Which is so cool.

Dr. Becky Campbell  02:08

Yes, which is so cool. And she is actually the first-ever full-time female referee for the WWE. She’s on Friday Night SmackDown, which is on every week on Fox, and she’s amazing. So, why don’t you walk us through your ten-year-plus journey getting into this whole wrestling [thing]—like, you as a wrestler—and then you becoming the first full-time official?

Jessika Carr  02:34

Yes, and to put this in a small amount of time, a window, is kind of hard because every journey is extensive. But just to give you the bare bones of where I started from, growing up, [I was a] huge wrestling fan. This wasn’t something like, I was an athlete, and I was like, “Let me do that.” No, I was far from an athlete. Growing up, I was a heavy-set kid; I was 230 pounds plus and didn’t do [any] activity at all. A mile run in school time was traumatic for me because I couldn’t even run halfway around the track once; that’s the kind of out-of-shape individual that I was.

Jessika Carr  03:16

It was around [my] senior year of high school that a good friend of mine lost a significant amount of weight. We were the chubby girls who were fun-loving and this and that. She made the choices to go to the gym and get in shape. And I was like, “All right, I’ll go with you,” type of thing, “because if you could do it, I guess I can make the effort to try.”

Jessika Carr  03:41

But I was on the elliptical machine—at what, high school? so that’s like 16, 17 years old, if that—and at the lowest resistance possible on this elliptical machine. And I couldn’t last for five minutes. That’s your low point. But I was smart enough or aware enough to realize that I had time, that I was young, and that I could change. But that was the trigger for me—like, what’s truly stopping you from whatever you wanted to do? And that was a choice that I said I wanted to pursue: Being a professional wrestler.

Dr. Becky Campbell  04:20

What a goal, Jess! What a goal from “I can’t make it this long”—which most kids would beat themselves up and just use as their reason to not move forward, and you didn’t—[to] “I’m going to go from this to this,” which is really cool.

Jessika Carr  04:38

Yes. And, of course, it was nuts at the time because, up to that point, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in wrestling, whether that was being a creative writer or working backstage. I went on the WWE website and looked up the degree that the writers needed, or [on] the social media website, what their degrees were. So that is how I depicted what I wanted to do in college. I knew that this was the direction I needed to go; I just couldn’t think that I could actually get in the ring myself. But it was at that point when I was like, “All right, well, I’m just going to pursue it.”

Jessika Carr  05:18

I also met a girl in New Jersey. Well, she lived in New Jersey, but we had met through probably meeting up at a signing or something of a wrestler or whatever. She had started training, and I saw her videos and her doing stuff, and I was like, “Ah!” So, it was a lot of seeing people doing things and then me going: “Well, why can’t I do that? Let me pursue that” and “Let me go after that.”

Jessika Carr  05:42

So that was in 2009, when I started training regularly. But before that… My life is very much a domino effect, so one thing happens; oddly, coincidentally, another thing happens; oddly, coincidentally, another thing happens. So I went to a wrestling show, but for those of you who don’t know, there’s WWE, but there are also independent shows all across the country that are small shows. Think, like, a small dive bar. If you’re in a band, you do small shows to work your way up to the big time, right? So, that’s what these were; they were small shows. It was in a bingo hall. Some names had made it to television before.

Jessika Carr  06:26

I went and saw that, and it was new to me. It was foreign because all I had ever seen was WWE with Big Time and the big lights on the television. That’s what I saw. So, to come into this rinky-dink bingo hall… It was packed, though. This was a good indie show. There are bad indie shows out there. I would later perform on many of them.

Dr. Becky Campbell  06:50

I think you have to get to the top, don’t you?

Jessika Carr  06:53

Oh, yes. But this was the first one I went to, and there were probably 500–600 people there. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, look at this makeshift entranceway they made up!” I was like, “Whoa, this is cool!” So I took a picture of it. Needless to say, looking through photos later, I looked through and I actually took a picture of the setup. But I actually had taken a picture of someone who would eventually be my mentor and who has guided me through my whole journey in this. His name is Pat Brink. He no longer wrestles, but at the time, he was on that indie show doing stuff. He helped me lose my initial weight, so he helped me lose 30 pounds—on Myspace at the time.

Dr. Becky Campbell  07:38

Myspace!

Jessika Carr  07:39

Yes. I went to the show. I saw him and friend requested him because that was who, coincidentally, also in the show, drew me to him. He’s a big guy; he is like 6’8″. A good-looking guy. I’ll give that to him.

Dr. Becky Campbell  07:58

He’s enjoying hearing that, for sure.

Jessika Carr  08:00

Yes. So, I’ll admit it. I’ll admit it. He’s like, “I knew it all along.” He made a Myspace bulletin, at the time, that he was available for personal training, so I reached out to him. [He was] super affordable; I think he charged me 25 bucks for an hour, and then he would usually stay an hour and a half, but the kicker was he came to my gym too.

Dr. Becky Campbell  08:28

That’s kind of unheard of now, right?

Jessika Carr  08:30

Yes.  Who else would, especially at the time, really put that effort into doing that? Even looking back, would I do that for someone else now? Probably no! But he opened those initial doors for my initial weight loss, then opened the doors for training for me to get into a wrestling ring. Weird!

Dr. Krystal Hohn  08:50

Like the domino effect, right? It’s true.

Jessika Carr  08:53

Yes. One thing oddly, one thing oddly, one thing next to another. There are lots of side stories and whatnot to get to that. I started training in Baltimore in 2009, and he had originally trained at a school down here in Florida named Team 3D Academy, which, at the time, was owned and operated by the Dudley Boyz. Their names are Bubba and Devon. They’re WWE Hall of Famers. So my original mentor, Pat Brink, always wanted to push that on me; “You should go there; you should do that.” It wasn’t until I sprained my ankle and got out of a really bad relationship at the time… The bad relationship might be listening. So, sorry! You were a bad relationship!

Becky Campbell  09:38

He knows.

Jessika Carr  09:40

He should know.

Dr. Becky Campbell  09:43

It’s not a surprise, I’m sure.

Jessika Carr  09:45

Yes. And that kind of catapulted me to finally getting to Florida, where I had less than a thousand dollars in my bank account. I didn’t know anyone, had no friends or family in Florida, and moved there in 2015. I had finished college in Baltimore, doing all those things. So I moved there and eventually had my WWE tryout in 2017. I got into the best shape of my life for it. [I made] lots of maybe unhealthy choices to get there along the way, but I did them anyway because that’s what I thought I had to be to get in that spot. So, I got there, and they said, “Hey, we have this opportunity, but would you be interested in being a referee?”

Jessika Carr  10:37

So, it was a strange circumstance for me. I immediately said yes because I wanted to be here; this is what I wanted to do. I needed to be here in the WWE, and you’re giving me an open door, an opportunity, and a shot. That’s amazing, and I’m so grateful that I took it, and I’m running with it to the best of my ability. Plus, making history—on top of the company. And the industry is amazing as well.

Jessika Carr  10:58

But it was an interesting dilemma that I’ve had to go through therapy and many other things for. It’s because I went through a time of not believing in myself because I was not an athlete to having and pursuing this dream, taking the chance to move away from home and to pursue that dream, that focus, that idea, and that identity of being a wrestler. And then finally [I was] told: “Here’s another direction for you; do you want to take it or not?” So, it was just like, “Yes!” But once I took it, I slowly started to realize how hard it was going to be for me because I had so much rooted identity in that wrestler. A wrestler was who I was.

Jessika Carr  11:38

The first thing [when] I met [someone], [they’d ask me]: “What do you do?” “Well, I’m a wrestler.” I was so proud of that, and now I really couldn’t say it. I was like, “I’m crying now.” I’m like, “Oh my God!” But I’ve tried instead to embrace the cool things that I get to do that, at the time when I was hired, no other woman in the world got to do.

Dr. Becky Campbell  12:02

If it were easy, Jess, everybody would do it, and obviously they’re not, so…

Dr. Krystal Hohn  12:08

What’s it like doing this and being successful in a man-dominated industry?

Jessika Carr  12:13

Yes. When coming in, I wasn’t sure what the expectation was going to be. I wasn’t sure if they were going to tell me, “Well, you’re just going to strictly do women’s matches.” I wasn’t sure what to expect out of it. But from day one, they told me that “you’re going to do everything that the guys are doing,” which meant a lot to me—not only to be in the position to referee guys’ contests, but there’s a lot to the backside of refereeing that people don’t realize, especially at the level of NXT and the performance center. We are a big people manager. We are really big into leading the buildings of the rings and tearing them down and the safety of that and concussion protocols and all of those things.

Jessika Carr  13:01

And I always felt that the ball was in my court for an opportunity, not because I was a female but because I was good at my job. And I still feel that now. But, at the same time, I really hold a high expectation for myself. I’m essentially setting a standard. Prior to this position being created, a lot of what female refereeing was or was known as was a special guest referee, in which the woman would be in just panties and a sports bra, parading around. But this was an established, full-time position with the company, and [I was] actually doing the role. Doing the role in a way of being able to tell the story that the people were doing in the ring without taking away from it, but also having and being an authority woman, an independent figure.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  13:54

Yes. Were you accepted? Did you ever feel judged or like you weren’t good enough throughout the whole process, with it being so male-dominated?

Jessika Carr  14:05

Right. I would say SmackDown is a great environment, just from the get-go of feeling like a team. SmackDown has been, from the start, just a really great place to be.

Dr. Becky Campbell  14:21

That is good because it’s not always common. Jess, talk to us about your body image—like your growth in confidence—with that whole journey. And how does that still continue today?

Jessika Carr  14:36

I’m not going to say that I’m at the end of the road and I’m, like, “gung-ho and every day is perfect,” because that is not a thing. I just started my own podcast with it and everything like that, so the more I talk about it and the more vulnerable I am with it, the easier it feels. It’s funny because, as I mentioned with my tryout, I thought I had to be and look a certain way. For some people, this might be a high number. I hate talking numbers, but I was 155, and that’s small for me. Like, very, very small.

Dr. Becky Campbell  15:15

How tall are you, Jess?

Jessika Carr  15:16

I’m 5’8″. I’m 5’8″, and that was small for me. Some people were like, “Whoa!” For me, that was a big deal.

Dr. Becky Campbell  15:27

You have a lot of muscle mass, though.

Jessika Carr  15:29

Oh, yes.

Dr. Becky Campbell  15:30

There are so many different things that come into play, and everyone’s body is happy at a different weight.

Jessika Carr  15:36

Yes. At that weight, I was very, very tiny. You know how you look back at pictures? I remember sending my mother a photo and going, “Man, I feel fluffy today.” And now, looking back at that photo, I’m like, “God, I was ridiculously small!” So it’s just crazy how your brain works.

Dr. Becky Campbell  15:56

It’s crazy how you don’t see yourself sometimes, and you don’t appreciate… And then you look back, and you’re like: “Well, I was unhappy there. Holy crap!”

Jessika Carr  16:06

Yes, and it’s finding that happiness where you are today that I think is the big superpower in where I am now.

Dr. Becky Campbell  16:15

Say that again for the people in the back, because that is [inaudible].

Jessika Carr  16:17

Oh my God, I don’t remember! I don’t remember! No. [laughs] Finding the gratitude and happiness where I am today is my real superpower.

Dr. Becky Campbell  16:25

Yes, that’s amazing.

Jessika Carr  16:26

I mean, this is really hard for me, but with Cody now, literally, it’s only been less than two weeks, but I’m getting on the scale every single day. And some people [might say] “That’s not good for your mental health,” which, for some people, they might not be able to do that. But I’m trying to do this better and getting on the scale every day to show myself that it’s just data. I went out… Not ‘went out,’ because we don’t do that now. [laughs] But I went and visited some friends, and he made macaroni and cheese with… What was it? Cheetos crust on top of it. Something that in the past [would invoke this reaction]: “No, absolutely not. Cannot have it. Nope, cannot. Nope.” But Jessika ate it, and then the next morning, Jessika weighed herself and did not have a mental breakdown.

Dr. Becky Campbell  17:15

Well, you can’t abuse yourself mentally for something like that. It’s like: “It is what it is,” and you move on.

Jessika Carr  17:22

Yes, it’s data. It’s realizing that yes, that macaroni cheese and whatever probably had stuff that I’m retaining water [because of] today. Okay, I dropped three pounds in a day because I weighed myself the next day.

Dr. Becky Campbell  17:33

And we really try to talk to people too—and you know this, Jess, from working with me—about health. I really am like: “Don’t focus on your weight as far as defining who you are or if you’re good enough or not. It’s really about: Are you giving your body what it needs to perform at your optimal best, or just to feel your best?” We have a lot of symptomatic patients, so I say: “This food, I don’t care what you eat as far as mentally or whatever, but what I care about is, what is it going to do to you symptomatically? Is it going to make you feel like crap? Then don’t eat it.” So, it’s not about: Is it going to make you have a four-pack rather than a six-pack?—or whatever. It depends on your goal. For me, the goal is health. So, I think that with health, you can do stuff like that, and then as long as you don’t mentally beat yourself up or you have to run ten miles the next day because you ate something off, whatever, and beat yourself up about it, then that’s actually mentally healthy.

Jessika Carr  18:46

A hundred percent. And while we’re on this health idea, what really started our communication was that I’d followed Laurie Christine King because I was struggling with putting on weight for, in my mind, no reason. But really, I was bouncing from thing to thing. I was doing keto but doing two hours of spin classes. I’m doing the work; I was already hired by WWE. So I was working out. My job is physical, but I’m like, “But the scale keeps going… and my stomach is… ” I remember going to Lululemon and taking a photo—trying stuff on, I’m like, “What is wrong?”—and just feeling so out of control with everything. But the kicker with the health idea was that I followed Laurie, and she is big on women’s health and things of that nature. One of the things that I think she took from the books that she promotes a lot is that your period is your monthly report card for your health. And I was like, “Oh, well, I have no report card.” And I hadn’t had one for years.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  19:59

Wow!

Jessika Carr  20:00

And I was like, “Okay!” So, that was kind of what the shift was: “Not only am I not in a good space mentally with what my body is doing and what I physically look like, but there’s no benefit to not having a period. I’m not healthy, and something’s wrong with this.” So, before working with you, I went to [other] doctors, and it was bad because there were no answers for me. “We don’t know why you don’t have your period.”

Dr. Becky Campbell  20:29

There was no investigation either, which is sad. And the answer usually is, “Let’s put you on this birth control pill” to make your body do something it’s not supposed to do. That is not what you need to do. I have hundreds of patients who come to me with no period, and there are many different reasons why. But you have to figure out what the ‘why’ is. And birth control is not the ‘why’; it’s the ‘why’ you don’t get your period sometimes, but it’s not the way to bring it back or to solve the underlying issue of why you weren’t getting it in the first place.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  21:03

That’s still not talked about. It’s not.

Jessika Carr  21:07

No, it’s not. It’s not at all. Yes. It was rough for them to say when I was 27 years old, “We don’t know if you’ll ever have kids.”

Dr. Becky Campbell  21:17

Like it’s nothing, like “Go get a haircut.”

Jessika Carr  21:20

They put me on a medication that women go on after menopause.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  21:26

Oh my gosh!

Jessika Carr  21:28

And I was like, “Cool.” So, that’s when I started working with you. And I just felt, not necessarily that I was broken, but that there were answers. [I felt] that there were answers, that I wasn’t crazy—that’s another one—and that there was hope. Then I worked with Cody, consistently getting in the food with Cody because I would eat a lot. But it would be after a week of deprivation or a week of doing keto, and then I would binge. But by consistently getting in what my body needed, I can say now that I’ve had a consistent period for probably over a year.

Dr. Becky Campbell  22:14

That’s great, Jess.

Jessika Carr  22:16

And I celebrate every time; my mom thinks I’m nuts.

Dr. Becky Campbell  22:20

People complain. It is not a complaint; it is a celebration, for sure. Yes.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  22:26

Why don’t you talk to us a little bit about your mindset with your long-term goals?

Jessika Carr  22:31

Yes. So, I do a lot of listening to different podcasts and things of that nature. Because, if anything, I realize that the more positively I talk to myself and the more positive things I put out, the more positive I’m going to get back. I’m such a believer in that. Especially… I forget, but it’s…  Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. It really got me thinking about how your brain doesn’t know if something has happened or not, but it’s the emotions and the thoughts of those things that can make anything come to fruition. I’d listen to a lot of Rob Dial on his podcast and then Cody’s too. They kind of all preach the same things [about how] nothing is impossible and your perspective on how you look at things, regardless. The crappiest thing can happen to you, but if you take it as how it happened for you rather than to you…

Jessika Carr  23:25

And that’s harder said than done. Yesterday was a real test for me because I was just having a really bad, awful day. [There was] one thing after another. I just felt stressed. I’m like, “How can I make this a positive right now?” And it was hard. It was hard, but because I had practiced and had been preaching these things, I felt like I had to at least do that because I wasn’t being authentic to myself if I wasn’t—do you know what I mean?—especially with talking about it as much as I do and [considering how much I] try to put that out into the world.

Dr. Becky Campbell  24:04

Yes. I always say to people who get upset about being symptomatic, “Your symptoms are a blessing because they are telling you there is an issue.” Some people go through life with zero symptoms, and then they die of a heart attack at 40 years old, and they had no idea it was coming. I have mast cell activation syndrome, so I tend to be a symptomatic person if I don’t sleep enough or whatever it is. But my body is telling me, “I don’t like this,” and “I do like this.” It’s actually something to be grateful for when you have that kind of thing pushing you and telling you what to do.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  24:43

I love that. Yes, it’s so true.

Dr. Becky Campbell  24:49

All right. So Jess, talk to us about—and we’ve touched on this a little bit—how does diet structure and overall body awareness help body composition and goals?

Jessika Carr  25:00

One thing that Cody says often—I just steal everything from Cody—is that awareness precedes change. So, you can’t change something unless you’re aware of it, whether that’s your daily food intake, the sleep that you’re getting, or the things that you feel as far as your mind and your thoughts. If you’re not aware of anything, you’re not going to be able to change it for the good or the bad. So, that’s just a huge part, I think, of the whole process of change: First knowing that you want to change something and then making the effort to do so.

Jessika Carr  25:38

I track my macros, my sleep, and all those things. And you can see the correlation too. And then you can see how the data changes because of that. “Oh, the scale is up because I had horrible sleep last night.” That’s normal; I’m not going to worry about it. And just being aware [is important]. Thoughts are a big one; be aware of what you’re thinking. I was hanging out with some friends that visited, and she said something about her ‘fat butt’ in front of her child. I don’t have kids; I can’t relate to having constant ears all the time. You know what I mean? But those small things of how you talk to yourself… Even my mom is guilty of saying, “Oh, I’m so stupid!” Well, “No, no. No!”

Dr. Becky Campbell  26:30

Don’t do it, no.

Jessika Carr  26:31

Yes, because if you’re saying that out loud, what are you thinking in here?

Dr. Becky Campbell  26:36

Yes. I say to people sometimes too, “If that’s coming out of your mouth, I don’t even want to know what’s going on in your head.” That’s sad. You shouldn’t be saying those things, nor should you even be thinking those things, because that puts you into that place. And it doesn’t matter who’s listening or who’s not. I mean, it’s worse if someone’s listening, obviously, like a child, but even just to think that about yourself and to say that out loud about yourself, it’s a very, very bad place to be. And people need to be more aware of what they’re saying about themselves because it puts you into the mindset that that’s who you are, and that’s not good.

Jessika Carr  27:15

It gives yourself, more than likely, a false identity of what you can and cannot do. If you always say: “Oh, there goes the diet again; I knew that wasn’t going to happen!” … But no, just say: “Well, I didn’t get it this time; next time will be better.” Or “What did I learn from this time?” It’s not a fall-off-the-wagon thing. And that’s what really helped me too: Thinking long-term. This is the road that I’m on; there’s no falling off of it. If there’s a small detour, then I’m going to get right back on. There’s no all-or-nothing mindset anymore for me. I’m trying to think that way. I’m just continually going. There’s no failing.

Dr. Becky Campbell  27:55

It’s a thing—it’s a meal, it’s missing a workout, it’s whatever—and then the next minute, you do it differently. I hear people say that all the time. My God! Krystal, how many times do we hear patients say, “I was doing really well with what you started me on”? “I did it for four weeks,” because they think everything I tell them is four weeks for some reason. And then they’re like: “I ate pizza with my family, and then I just fell off the wagon. So, then I started doing everything again”—this and that—”and now I’m back where I was, and I’m not sleeping anymore.” I’m like: “Whoa, first of all, you didn’t have to beat yourself up. It’s not falling off a wagon. So? You ate pizza; who cares? You ate pizza! The next meal, don’t… or do, and then the next meal, don’t.” I mean, whatever. Mindset is just so important.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  29:01

It is so important. It really can just trickle down and cause a domino effect, right?

Jessika Carr  29:05

Yes, 100%. I’m actually going to start up—it’s a health mindset coaching certification. I’m excited about it. It’s just interesting. I did Precision Nutrition’s nutrition certification during the pandemic last year because it was something to use my time. It’s more on behavior change, how to get people to change their behaviors, the mindsets that come with that, and thoughts. Even if I don’t use it soon, I just think it would not only be beneficial for myself but really interesting.

Dr. Becky Campbell  29:42

It’s what people need. People need that. If you guys don’t follow Jessika on Instagram, you have to, because I love your Instagram. It is her being her and loving herself exactly the way she is. And you work in an industry where these girls are “perfect,” you know? I mean, no cellulite. Whatever. Whatever your description of perfect visually is, I mean, they’re beautiful. So are you. You are you, and you embrace it and show it. And you are happy about it, and I love that. So, you guys have to definitely follow Jessika. Jessika, give us your handle because I want to make sure people follow you.

Jessika Carr  30:26

Yup, it’s @WWEladyrefJess. That’s on Instagram and Twitter.

Dr. Becky Campbell  30:32

You get to see her in action reffing, and it’s awesome. I have to tell you something funny. My ex-boyfriend and also, coincidentally, Krystal’s ex-boyfriend… [laughs] Whole other show! But anyway, he is a huge WWE fan—huge! And when you were my patient, I didn’t know you were in the WWE because we didn’t talk about that. I’m not, admittedly, a WWE follower, really. Except, I’ve watched some of the shows and stuff on it, like the Bella Twins and that type of stuff. But anyway, he was like: “Oh my gosh, do you know that Jessika Carr is following you?” And I’m like, “Well, yes.” And he’s like, “She’s a WWE ref!” And I’m like, “What?! That’s awesome!”

Jessika Carr  31:23

Yes, it’s crazy for me too, because I’m just me.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  31:26

Oh yes, of course!

Jessika Carr  31:29

You discover that too when you go into SmackDown, and then you’re working with these stars that were stars before, and now you’re like, “Oh, well, that’s just them.” And it’s kind of powerful, too, to realize it’s just people.

Dr. Becky Campbell  31:46

Yes, exactly.

Jessika Carr  31:47

And what’s really fun for me too is when I’ll go to Walmart or something or Target and I see someone wearing a wrestling shirt, and I’m like: “If only you knew! Ha-ha-ha!” And it’s because people don’t recognize me, generally, because I look different anyway when I’m doing my thing. But it’s just [like], “heh-heh, ha-ha,” even the day after.

Dr. Becky Campbell  32:10

It’s awesome, though! It’s something to be so proud of because it’s not just anybody who makes it into that. You were special. You made it into it for your own reasons, and it’s something to be really proud of. I think that’s really cool.

Jessika Carr  32:27

Yes. It’s been a journey and is still a journey, but we’re on the road and crawling, as I like to say.

Dr. Becky Campbell  32:33

And I’ve watched you grow too. I mean, I’ve watched you get bigger and bigger in this thing, so this is really cool. So, tell us your ‘why.’ What is your ‘why’ for all of this?

Jessika Carr  32:44

It’s hard because what I always end up going back to, I guess, is being that little girl again. “Oh no, the [inaudible]. A few of them. They’re here!” The tears! And [I remember, as a little girl] just loving it so much. So many times I would leave an arena… because my dad would take me to so many shows. I lived in Baltimore, but he would take me to Philadelphia. He would take me to Virginia. He would take me to New York. He would take me everywhere. I would go and drive six hours to just do a meet-and-greet signing for the people that I loved. So much money, so much time.

Jessika Carr  33:21

I just remember the feeling of that passion and loving it so much. So many events and [so much] time [spent]. And I guess, just going back to that little girl not believing in herself, even at the time of just basic everyday life, wrestling was my thing. That’s what gave me life and still does, you know? Just listening to the WWE theme songs on the bus and being…

Jessika Carr  33:49

People always say: “Oh, you’re going to miss high school. You’re going to miss high school. It’s the best time of your life!” No, high school sucked. I hated high school.

Dr. Becky Campbell  34:00

Same! Same!

Jessika Carr  34:03

I hated high school, but wrestling is what got me through everything. It still does.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  34:10

And you would do a lot of things with your dad, you said?

Jessika Carr  34:11

Oh, yes, yes. A lot of events with Dad. He doesn’t even like wrestling, really.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  34:16

Aw!

Jessika Carr  34:16

He just likes to go, and he’ll talk to me about it. His favorite is Bailey. I don’t know if you know Bailey.

Dr. Becky Campbell  34:24

He must be so proud of you.

Jessika Carr  34:26

He wants me [to be] happy, you know? That’s the big thing. That’s the big thing.

Dr. Becky Campbell  34:31

You are. Yes.

Jessika Carr  34:32

It’s definitely improving because I’m just so hard on myself. I honestly have that dream. I’m very critical that “I didn’t reach what I originally thought.”

Dr. Becky Campbell  34:46

I think you’ve reached further. I think you’ve gone far. You have gone far. And really, mostly within your own feelings about yourself.

Jessika Carr  34:55

Oh, yes.

Dr. Becky Campbell  34:55

That’s the prize, right there.

Jessika Carr  34:59

Yes, a million percent. And being able to share that too is big. And again, I’m not done with it. Everyone has their days. Everyone has their days, right? But to not cry over a number anymore or not… Oh, here’s a great example, haha, of what would’ve destroyed me in previous lives.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  35:22

Yes, talk to us about how weight is not a number.

Jessika Carr  35:24

Yes. It’s how you feel—how you feel about yourself. So, there was a lady today at the gym. Not older per se, but older than me, maybe in her 40s, maybe her 50s, and she was very talkative in the sauna—talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, talking—I don’t know about what. Ultimately, she leaves, and she noticed—

Dr. Becky Campbell  35:48

I’ve met her! [laughs]

Jessika Carr  35:49

Yes. [laughs] Yes, yes. She’s—oof!—talking; I don’t know. But then she comes out and talks about how she needs to lose the last 10 pounds [and how] she’s doing this. She goes: “Oh, you have big legs like me. You’ve got to keep yourself in check.” And I was like, ‘Oh.’ She’s like, “You just started working out too?” I’m like, “Nope, 10 years.” I recognized my thought patterns and my emotions, and I definitely felt something off of that. It definitely triggered me, but it would’ve killed me in different ways when I was younger.

Dr. Becky Campbell  36:24

So you handled it differently inside than you would’ve before.

Jessika Carr  36:29

A million percent. And I was like, “You have no idea, my dear.” And the way I try to recognize it is that the way people generally see other people or talk to other people is generally how they see and talk about themselves.

Dr. Becky Campbell  36:41

Very true. Very true, Jess!

Jessika Carr  36:44

So she probably struggles with that as well.

Dr. Becky Campbell  36:46

When I see people like that, that’s kind of my first thought. I’m like, “I feel sad for you; that’s how you feel. You’re projecting that onto me, but that’s how you feel about yourself, and it’s sad.” So, it’s great that you recognize that, for sure.

Jessika Carr  37:03

Yes. And for me to be the weight that I am today, I’m 185 right now. Like, a 10-year-old me would not have thought that I could be where I am and doing the things that I do at 185 pounds.

Dr. Becky Campbell  37:18

That’s amazing.

Jessika Carr  37:19

Even part of me inside is like, “Wow, you just said your weight; that’s probably dangerous.”

Dr. Becky Campbell  37:24

But that’s good. Say it. Who cares? It’s a number!

Dr. Krystal Hohn  37:24

You’ve had your period, girl, for over a year, right?

Jessika Carr  37:28

Yes, I know. Woo-hoo!

Dr. Becky Campbell  37:29

Celebrate that! Celebrate your period, for sure! Yes, that’s true. So what’s next for you, Jess?

Jessika Carr  37:36

There is a lot of uncertainty in my line of work. [laughs] We don’t generally know what is going on that evening when we’re there at 3 p.m. It’s utter chaos, but I don’t think I would enjoy a life [that is] much different because I like hanging on by the seat of my pants and going: “What’s the adventure now? Where are we going? What are we doing?” It’s fun for me. My dad made me do an internship at his work [in my] junior year of high school, and it was sitting at a computer for eight hours a day. I’m like: “I cannot. I can’t do this. This is really bad.” So, I’m so glad that I’m able to do what I do, on top of being on TV, traveling, and doing what I love.

Dr. Becky Campbell  38:32

Do you get nervous in front of that huge crowd? I mean, look at her pictures on Instagram, and it’s like: “Holy crap! I’d be crapping!”

Jessika Carr  38:44

Yes. Well, truthfully, I get more nervous because our main boss, Vince McMahon, whenever he’s there, which he’s normally there, that’s when I get nervous the most.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  38:55

Wow, okay!

Jessika Carr  38:56

The people are fun for me. We love having people there because that energy that you feel—the sound comes straight to you. I have always gotten goosebumps from crowds.

Dr. Becky Campbell  39:09

I would pass out!

Jessika Carr  39:11

No, that’s the best. Literally, though, there are parts before a match where I’ll go over to our timekeeper announcer guy, and I’ll go, ‘Puke.’ I’ve never puked out of nervousness before, but I go: “Puke! Puke!” We have WrestleMania coming up soon, in April. I just checked, just to make sure I didn’t have to check again. It’s two nights again this year, April 10th and 11th. We are joining. We have the WWE network right now, but we are now joining with Peacock. It’s kind of like Hulu, but it’s Peacock. I don’t know. We’re doing that. They just moved to Peacock, so it’ll be available on Peacock that Saturday and Sunday. So that’s the next big thing. People will be back. I don’t know how many people will be in attendance, but it’s going to sound like 55 million people. For the past year, if you don’t know, we’ve done empty arena shows.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  40:09

Wow!

Dr. Becky Campbell  40:10

Yes. I did know that.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  40:12

It’s such a weird year, isn’t it?

Jessika Carr  40:19

It’s been nuts. I’m lucky that I’m not throwing myself against that ring, but these guys and girls are doing that. And the people, like I said, [and] that energy helps.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  40:29

It gets them going!

Jessika Carr  40:30

Yes, and so to do that without that, it’s definitely been trying and difficult for the guys and girls. But they’ve done it, and they’ve done extremely well with it.

Dr. Becky Campbell  40:41

Do they have little cutouts of people in the stands? I know they do that with sports, don’t they?

Dr. Krystal Hohn  40:46

How wild [it is] when you see that! You’re like, ‘Really?’

Jessika Carr  40:50

Yes, they do. Yes. We have been doing what’s called the ThunderDome in Tropicana Field right now. So, there are screens—massive amounts of screens—and people will literally go on their computers.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  41:03

Oh, and Skype in?

Jessika Carr  41:05

Yes, they’ll Skype in, and then their faces from their computers will be at Tropicana. Yes, you should check it out. Check it out, absolutely.

Dr. Becky Campbell  41:12

I’ve seen that on The Voice.

Jessika Carr  41:16

It’s great, yes. Exactly, exactly. But the fact that it’s like 3,000 people at one time that they filter in and out, it’s nuts, even on that realm… If WWE wants it to happen, WWE makes it happen. It’s a machine. It’s nuts. It’s absolutely nuts.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  41:34

Tell us about your podcast. You just started your podcast, right?

Jessika Carr  41:39

Yes, I’m literally three episodes deep.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  41:44

How are you liking it? I mean, we just started ours.

Jessika Carr  41:46

It’s exciting. So, a lot of what wrestling was for me when I did wrestle was that creative outlet, because it’s an art form; it’s expression. I can’t do that as much as a referee. And speaking, delivering my message, and just communicating—that’s a big part of my creativity that I really like. So, I’m ahead of schedule; I have about 15 recorded.

Dr. Krystal Hohn  42:11

Oh, cool! [inaudible]

Jessika Carr  42:12

Yes. I don’t like to run out of things. Even when I’m home, like: “Oh, I’m almost out of oatmeal. Crap, I’ve got to order some!” when I have a half container. I don’t like to stress over things like that. So slowly and gradually, I will be able to edit them as I go and just enjoy. So, it’s one of those things where hopefully I can continue doing it. I don’t know if, for whatever reason, I won’t be able to do it anymore, but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s called the Brink Life Podcast. Brink based on… I used to wrestle under ‘Kennedy Brink’, but also [under] my mentor named Pat Brink, which I talked about earlier. So, yes, Brink Life Podcast, because you are on the brink of something big every day; you just have to be ready for it.

Dr. Becky Campbell  43:03

I love that, Jess. Well, tell us where else we can find you.

Jessika Carr  43:08

Yep. Just as I mentioned Instagram and Twitter: @WWEladyrefJess. Those are my two main ones, yes.

Dr. Becky Campbell  43:10

All right. Well, we loved having you. We loved working with you. And I’m so proud of you, and I’m just watching your progress and seeing everything you’re doing. So, thank you so much for coming on.

Jessika Carr  43:21

Thank you very much. I’m glad we got it to happen.

Dr. Becky Campbell  43:24

All right, everyone, have an awesome day!

Dr. Krystal Hohn  43:27

See you later!